The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
The Best of Me
THE BEST OF ME is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they've taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past.
I had forgotten that I was reading a Nicholas Sparks book when I started reading The Best of Me. I kept thinking how is this going to resolve itself in a good way? Then I remembered. It is Nicholas Sparks. It is going to be sad and touching and whatever. Spoilers ahead so don't read on if you don't want to know the ending (I had a few issues with it I am going to talk about).
The best of me is about high school sweethearts Dawson and Amanda. They didn't end up together and now, twenty five years later, are reunited again over the death of a mutual friend. Dawson hasn't had the easiest of lives. He was born into a bad family and since he was not many people gave him a chance because of his last name. He was really a good kid, but people couldn't see past who his family was. He tired really hard to no be like the rest of his family which did cause some issues with them. He does come into a bit of trouble and because of who he is ends up serving time when he really shouldn't have. I would get so angry with the people in the town, but I know places like this do exist. I wish people wouldn't be so awful to others.
Amanda had a very different childhood. Her parents had money and she had everything, except her very controlling mom. When Amanda and Dawson starts dating her parents are anything but happy. They eventually give her an ultimatum - break up with Dawson or she has to find her own place to live and pay her way (they won't pay for college either). Dawson is such a great guy he makes her leave him as he knows she has a great life ahead of her. He can't hold her back and he doesn't think he can really get ahead. It was sad and really I get a little annoyed with Amanda for just giving up on Dawson. She moves on with her life, marries a guy and has some kids, but things are not sunshine and roses for her. Her husband is an alcoholic and she doesn't know what to do about it.
Dawson has just been alone for most of his life. After his time in lockup he just keeps to himself. He doesn't have family or friends and he is fine that way. When he sees Amanda again back in his home town he is still as in love with her as he was twenty five years ago. They are sweet together, but really how can this ever work out? She has kids and is married and she can't just up and leave her husband and have everything work out happily ever after. This is a Nicholas Sparks novel which is usually not happily ever after material. I was fine with all of it, fine with them not getting together because it just realistically wouldn't work out that well. I was fine with Amanda choosing her family over Dawson. Fine with all of it. Sad, but I kept thinking well maybe one day, once her kids are grown, she will find him again.
Then everything changes. Dawson's family has been trying to kill him because he beat them up so long ago and they don't forget. He left town, but then realized he forgot something so he heads back. As soon as that happened you know what is going to happen. Amanda's son was in a car accident and in the hospital in need of a heart transplant. And that is when I just rolled my eyes so hard and thought no. No. Just no. Why oh why did you have to go and ruin an otherwise alright book with this lame lame lame ending? Why? It was obvious what would happen. I do not like this so many coincidences happen so that things work out for her son and bleck. Did not like. Too much. Too far. I don't mind if someone dies, but the heart thing is too much. So it was an alright book until it got to be too much at the end. Oh well.
Rating: ★ ★1/2